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Berlin's new Brandenburg Airport won't open until 2016

By David Flynn     Filed under: AirBerlin, Brandenburg, Berlin Airport

Berlin's much-delayed Brandenburg International Airport will remain closed until 2016, adding yet another year to the string of setbacks and pushing the airport almost five years behind schedule.

This latest delay is blamed on several reasons, including the unplanned reconstruction of the northern runway owing to stricter rules for noise protection.

German media reports that airport chief Hartmut Mehdorn earlier today informed the government that the opening of the German capital’s new international airport will take place "at the earliest in March 2016", assuming there are no more hurdles placed in his path.

It's the seventh proposed opening date for the new airport, which now sits idle despite appearing complete from the outside.

The cost of the Brandenburg hub has soared from its initial €2.5 billion (A$3.8bn) budget to exceed €4.3 billion (A$6.6bn), with a sub-standard fire safety system leading the host of problems held responsible for the setbacks.

Mehdorn last year proposed that the first commercial services could begin in "March or April" of this year, although there would be a ceiling of ten flights per day.

This would see the airport handling a mere 1,500 passengers per day instead of the 82,000 per day for which it was designed.

But any hopes of an opening this year were swept off the calendar when Klaus Wowereit, chairman of Brandenburg Airport's supervisory board and also mayor of Berlin, later announced that "the airport cannot be opened in 2014."

Wowereit said that while technical solutions to the airport‘s many problems have been found, now it will come down to implementing those solutions.

Brandenburg has been built to replace three airports serving the German capital – including the existing Berlin Schönefeld Airport on which the new facility is based, which sees Berlin Brandenburg Airport handily located just 18 kilometres south of central Berlin.

When it does eventually open, Brandenburg will be the new hub for Virgin Australia partner and oneworld member airberlin, which intends to use the airport's capacity to expand its network.

(Instead, airberlin has been forced to remain at the vastly overcrowded Tegal Airport, which cannot accommodate any additional flights.)

One of the three piers surrounding the terminal will be set aside for airberlin and other oneworld airlines.

The main pier is 715 meters long (that's almost five Aussie rules football fields, or six if you're a rugby fan) with 16 glass-walled gates. 

The approach to the new airport is impressive on a monumental scale...

... especially at night, with a soaring brightly-lit roof reaching over the access road.

The airy spacious design continues inside, of course.

The transparent walkway for passengers in transit is an especially cool touch.

Berlin Airport should cater for up to 30 million passengers per year, and will grow to 50 million when further terminals are added.

An underground railway station will link the airport to Berlin's S-Bahn metro, with a separate Airport Express running to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin central station) in 30 minutes as well as high-speed rail services to Hannover, Hamburg, Amsterdam and Prague.

Adjacent to the airport itself will be the Airport City park for shops, offices and restaurants...

... and a four-star hotel connected directly to the terminal.

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 18/8/13 by Poisson

Shades of Doha's new airport which has likewise suffered cost blowouts and even longer delays. Its most recent scheduled opening (just a few months ago) was cancelled because of problems with the fire there a pattern here?

Nonetheless, the renderings look stunning, and once finished Brandenburg should be right up there with the world's best.

2 on 18/8/13 by moa999

and klia2 the low cost, now hybrid airport thast was due to open 2012, and is now back to mid-2014...

3 on 18/8/13 by Colin

Anything has to be better than Tegal. 

1 on 19/8/13 by Peter

I actually like Tegel, with its closer locale to Ku'damm and Mitte, and its unbeatable walking distance from curb to gate. Sure, it gets packed in the gate area when arriving on non-schengen flights (due to limited immigration) but this is hardly a problem when flying with status.

However, I admit that Berlin needs a new airport (more urgently than Sydney does).

2 on 8/1/14 by smit0847

Tegel is such a strange design - like a giant donut with everything squashed in - I'm amazed the curb to gate is only about 10 metres!!

4 on 22/8/13 by James

Gott sei Dank! (Thank God, in German)... The construction of this airport has been more dramatic than an opera. But I can't wait to see the finished product. I wonder whether BER will eventually steal long-haul traffic from Frankfurt and Munich? Good article, David.

5 on 8/1/14 by hutch

This has not been an example of the normally great German engineering... such a shame.

6 on 25/2/14 by Peter

This is in stark comparison to China's plan to build 82 new airports between 2011 and 2015...

7 on 26/2/14 by hutch

2016 now... perhaps they need to knock down & rebuild?

8 on 26/10/14 by therealqueen

Peter you cannot compare the german engineering supremacy to china's grand plans of multiple airports. Would you rather drive a bmw or great wall of china crap car??


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